‘Princelings’ in China Use Family Ties to Gain Riches - The New York Times.pdf

The party is unlikely to move more aggressively

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The party is unlikely to move more aggressively because families of high-ranking past and current officials are now deeply embedded in the economic fabric of the nation. Over the past two decades, business and politics have become so tightly intertwined, they say, that the Communist Party has effectively institutionalized an entire ecosystem of crony capitalism. “They don’t want to bring this into the open,” said Roderick MacFarquhar, a China specialist at Harvard University. “It would be a 4 ARTICLES Subscribe to The New York Times.   SEE MY OPTIONS Subscriber login ‘Princelings’ in China Use Family Ties to Gain Riches - The New York Times ... 3 of 7 1/5/2019 4:31 AM
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tsunami.” Critics charge that powerful vested interests are now strong enough to block reforms that could benefit the larger populace. Changes in banking and financial services, for instance, could affect the interests of the family of Zhu Rongji, China’s prime minister from 1998 to 2003 and one of the architects of China’s economic system. His son, Levin Zhu, joined China International Capital Corporation, one of the country’s biggest investment banks, in 1998 and has served as its chief executive for the past decade. Efforts to open the power sector to competition, for example, could affect the interests of relatives of Li Peng, a former prime minister. Li Xiaolin, his daughter, is the chairwoman and chief executive of China Power International, the flagship of one of the big five power generating companies in China. Her brother, Li Xiaopeng, was formerly the head of another big power company and is now a public official. “This is one of the most difficult challenges China faces,” said Mr. Pei, an authority on China’s leadership. “Whenever they want to implement reform, their children might say, ‘Dad, what about my business?’ ” There are also growing concerns that a culture of nepotism and privilege nurtured at the top of the system has flowed downward, permeating bureaucracies at every level of government in China. “After a while you realize, wow, there are actually a lot of princelings out there,” said Victor Shih, a China scholar at Northwestern University near Chicago, using the label commonly slapped on descendants of party leaders. “You’ve got the children of current officials, the children of previous officials, the children of local officials, central officials, military officers, police officials.We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of people out there — all trying to use their connections to make money.” To shore up confidence in the government’s ability to tackle the problem, high-ranking leaders regularly inveigh against greedy officials caught with their hand in the till. In 2008, for instance, a former Shanghai Party secretary, Chen Liangyu, was sentenced to 18 years in prison for bribery and abuse of power. One of his crimes was pressing businessmen to funnel benefits to his close relatives, including a land deal that netted his brother, Chen Liangjun, a $20 million profit.
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  • Fall '17
  • Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao, Communist Party of China, Wen Jiabao, China Use Family Ties

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